Thursday, September 5, 2013

Conferences and Childcare

I have two conferences coming up this Fall, and have to decide what to do with Baby during them.  Here are the options:

Conference 1: New Orleans, Baby 4 months old, 4 days of conference, I must be there for 2
Option 1: Take Baby and Papa with me
Pros: Papa takes care of Baby, I get to hang out with Baby and not worry about pumping, New Orleans sounds fun for a family vacation
Cons: Plane tickets are expensive, and we already have family visits/weddings to do this year.  Papa has to take off work, and he's just started a job.

Option 2: Baby stays home with Papa, I fly out the morning of Day 1 and come back the evening of Day 2
Pros: No baby travel/childcare issues
Cons: Pumping, Papa still has to take off work one day (weekday), Baby has been known to refuse bottle, I may be too stressed out/worried to enjoy the conference

Option 3: Papa stays home, Baby come with me and I hire someone to watch her during the two sessions I'm participating in, and maybe at other times.  The conference will reimburse me $200 for childcare, but I know no one in New Orleans, so I would have to use the service recommended by the hotel.
Pros: Papa doesn't miss work, I can hang out with Baby, less expensive
Cons: Do I trust a random service with a 4 month old? Also traveling alone with Baby

Option 4: See if my mother wants to come visit New Orleans and watch Baby.  She doesn't live any closer than we do, but possible.
Pros: Childcare, I can hang out with Baby, Papa doesn't miss work
Cons: Is it weird to have your mother at an academic conference?

Probably I'm leaning towards Options 1 or 4, with 3 as a backup? 2 may be too stressful.

Conference 2: Provo, UT, Baby 5 months old, 3 days of conference, I must be there for 1, but have to fly in the evening before and out the following day due to plane/conference schedules.

Option 1: Same as above
Option 2: Same as above, but less of an option since it will be two nights away.
Option 3: Same as above.  No reimbursement from this conference, but I know someone there who can find me a vouched-for babysitter.
Option 4: Same as above, but not an exciting location, and this is far for my mother.

For this one, I'm leaning towards Option 3, since it's two nights, I don't want my husband to miss more work, and I can get a good babysitter.  But ah, the decisions--what would you do?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Because Papa objected to buying a billy goat

Hush little baby don't say a word
Papa's gonna buy you board games for nerds

And if those board games aren't very fun
Papa's gonna buy you video ones

And if those video games make you fat
Mama's dance class will take care of that

And if all that dancing makes you sore
Papa will take you to relax outdoors

And if outdoors the mosquitos bite
Mama will read you lots of books at night

And when all of Mama's books are through
Papa will have more waiting for you

And when all of Papa's books are done
We'll buy you an e-reader to download some

And if that e-reader breaks down
You'll still be the sweetest little baby in town

Monday, August 12, 2013

Random Khawatir

That I write blog posts in my head for during 3am feedings but do not find the time to commit to the screen while awake

Because why is it that article reviews take 5 months plus, except for the one that you submit a week before giving birth that comes back in a record 8 weeks?

Because the system for the online language course I'm designing hates right to left and all tools necessary for online language learning

Because despite the fact that I am in theory on parental pleave this Fall I am prepping all the Arabic courses and supervising the TAs teaching them (and sure I could refuse to do this, but it would bite me in the butt with more work teaching the second part of the courses in the Spring)

Because although the provost rejected my request for a 1/1 instead of 0/2 maternity leave, I apparently can do independent studies, and now have one

Which I'm doing only because I will get a research project out of it, which is could because my planned second project may have blown up along with Egypt

Only I need to submit an IRB for this project, and after learning the new computer submission system days after giving because IF YOU DO NOT RENEW YOUR OLD STUDY 45 DAYS IN ADVANCE SCARY THINGS WILL HAPPEN it turns out social-behavioral sciences are being transferred and will not use the system, and I have to wait to submit so it doesn't get lost in transfer

Because I am setting up dance demonstrations and trying to advertise for my dance classes

And also trying to get my core and stamina back so it looks like Highland Dancing

Which will be easier after the garage to dance studio remodel is finished on our house

Except that my Achilles doth protest

Luckily for me I have the cutest baby, the best husband, homemade Starbucks, and chocolate!

Monday, July 22, 2013

No more Friday vaccines!

Friday my poor baby had to get 3 vaccines.  I have never minded getting shots myself, even as a child, but watching your happy unsuspecting infant get poked is pretty dreadful.  

Then Saturday evening, she felt hot, and when we took her temperature, it was 100.8.  Low grade fevers are a side effect of the vaccines, but what is low grade? We called the nurse hotline and they said 100.4 was the cut off, anything higher bring her in.  In being the emergency room in this case, since both urgent care and the doctor are closed Saturday.  

So off we headed to the emergency room, where they said they were 99% sure it was just the effect of the vaccines, but to make sure it wasn't a life-threatening bacterial infection they wanted to do a full work-up: urine sample, blood draw and spinal tap.  Eeek!

Since infants don't pee on demand, this meant a catheter up her.  I faint when my own blood is drawn (mostly due to a dreadful vein-finding experience six years ago) so I couldn't watch this, just had to listen to her scream.  Then the spinal tap--they tried to reassure us that it was like an epidural during childbirth.  Except that if you didn't have an epidural, and the main reason was that the thought of anything being stuck into your spine makes you want to pass out . . .this is not reassuring.  Then it took them three tries to make the tap.  

They let us go home after giving her a dose of antibiotics (through the IV) but said she should get another dose the following day, and since the doctor and urgent care would still be closed Sunday, this meant a recheck in ER, and a shot of antibiotics.  Actually, two shots since it was too much for one for her.  

So in three days, my poor baby had five shots, a blood draw, a urine catheter, and a spinal tap :-) Oh and two rectal temperature measures. She is mostly recovered, but it might take me a while.  Luckily, the fever was gone by Sunday and her culture were clear, so it was indeed a vaccine side effect. 

Lesson learned--get vaccines at 8 weeks and not on Fridays!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Catching Up

In addition to moving, things I had hoped to accomplish in the week between baby's due date and when she arrived were:

1) Reviewing an article
2) Submitting an abstract for a colloquium
3) Making up an agreement for a study abroad trip
4) Finishing up the materials for an online course for the Fall

Unfortunately, I went into labor the day I was supposed to meet with the study abroad office, and hadn't accomplished the rest of the stuff, so this didn't work out.  As a result, I've been trying to fit this work (except for the study abroad meeting, which will have to wait) in between nursings, baby calming,  napping, etc.  Thankfully my mother was visiting to help, and my husband was also around (unanticipated benefit of unemployment=no need to worry about paternity leave!) so I did manage to work on these projects 2-3 hours a day, submitting the review yesterday, the abstract today, and getting the books from my office I need to put the finishing touches on the online class today.  Phew!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Birth Story

Babies seem to have an innate cuteness factor that makes you put up with all sorts of bodily trauma (i.e. labor and delivery, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation), slowly erasing it from your mind.  With this under consideration, I figured I should record my birth story somewhere before the pain is completely overwritten by the cuteness of newborn grunts, sleepy smiles, and sweet smells.  Here goes. 

Early in the morning of June 6th, around, I was lying awake in bed, trying to fall back asleep, but unable to find a comfortable position at nearly 39 weeks.  My hip pain was exacerbated by moving all day, and I noticed that now my back was hurting and I felt a lot of pressure in my lower abdomen.  I got up and wandered to the bathroom and the kitchen, and back to bed, and that's when I noticed the back pain/pressure seemed kind of regular.  I glanced at the time.  4:24.  Then 4:34.  Hmm, ten minutes I thought, could these be contractions? This isn't what I thought a contraction would feel like, I thought it would be more of a muscle contraction than a painful pressure.  Never far from my iphone, I opened it up and started googling "early labor contractions."  4:44.  More pressure.  Apparently early labor contractions feel like menstrual cramps, not helpful, as that's something I never have.  Are these contractions?  More pressure, then more, then more.  Definitely not ten minutes apart anymore.  I wake up my husband and tell him I think I'm in labor.  He jumps into action and starts timing the contractions on the app we downloaded about a month ago.  At this point, the contractions, which are starting to feel more like contractions, are only about two minutes apart.  I call OB Triage, per the instructions to call the hospital before coming in.  They tell me as the contractions aren't too bad, and my water hasn't broken, to stay at home as I'm likely in early labor and should only come in during active labor.  

I hang up the phone, and start looking through my checklist to finish off my partially packed hospital bag.  Five minutes later, my water breaks.  I call back, and they say, okay, come in now.  My husband calls my mother, who was planning to come for the birth, but was still 3/4 of the country away, as her flight was scheduled five days before my due date, and we were eight days out.  Being a little more concerned about baby coming early than I was (possibly because her first child, me, was nearly born on the highway) she already had a suitcase packed and in the car and knew that the next direct flight left in two and a half hours.  She jumped in the car and zoomed off, hoping to cover the two hours to the airport quickly enough to make the flight.  

My husband and I headed to the hospital, where they hooked me up to some monitors, and explained that although my water had broken I was still in early labor, and I could come back in two hours.  Since it was now 6:00 am, I was ready for coffee, so I suggested that we go to Starbucks, where we ran into my flamenco teacher who'd seen me just five days earlier in class (yay for dancing till the end!).  Coffee in hand, we headed back to our apartment to wait out early labor, except by this time I was pretty sure I was in active labor, as the contractions were getting difficult to talk through.  

So, we headed back to the hospital, where I stretched for a bit in the meditation room, waiting for my midwife to come on duty.  The midwives work as a team, so the midwife you see during your pregnancy isn't necessarily the one you see for labor and delivery, as it depends on who is on duty.  Luckily for me, the midwife I had been seeing came on duty at 8am.  When she arrived, I checked back into OB Triage, and she sent me to Labor and Delivery, as things seemed to be moving quickly.  

Things were moving quickly, and not too painfully . . . and then I got stuck in transition for nearly six hours, as apparently baby's head was tilted in a way that made it difficult to progress!  At this point, I could feel the energy seeping from me, and thought I would never make it through the pain.  I stretched, I walked, I crawled, I moaned louder and louder, I laid in the hot bath, nothing seemed to make much of a difference.  

In the meantime, my mother made the direct flight, arriving at the airport with just enough time to toss some clothes from her suitcase into her carryon (realizing she didn't have time to check luggage), and rush through the handicapped entrance to security exclaiming "my daughter's in labor and my flight leaves in ten minutes!" They let her through, she made it to the airplane just before the doors shut, and was even able to send us an email via the airplane wifi with the good news.  

She arrived at the hospital just as I was getting narcotics through an IV, in the hopes of dulling the pain of hour four of transition.  Narcotic pain relief is supposed to take the edge off of the contractions, but still allow you to move around (unlike the epidural I'm terrified of). Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to work so well in transition, the most painful stage of labor.  The first dose they gave me had no effect.  The second dose took the contraction pain from a 9/10 to an 8/10 for about three contractions before wearing off.  Due to a generally high level of activity in the ward, I was unable to get any more doses for the next two hours, and then it was time to push and they said I couldn't have any more as it would have a negative effect on pushing. Aaaahh!!!

I'll never make it, I thought, I don't think I can even stand up, let alone push a baby out with mysterious muscles I've never used before!  Yet it turns out that pushing is less painful than transition, and at this point I could at least feel the baby moving, so it felt like something was finally happening.  Just when I was sure I'd never make it, she came out, and they dumped my beautiful crying daugher in my arms.  My first thought was she's huge, how did she ever get out of there? No wonder it hurt.  (She was 6 lbs 12 oz., which is not huge at all, but I was envisioning something smaller in my mind, especially as far as her head was concerned).  

I'm convinced there is no full body workout quite like labor.  I don't think I will ever be able to complain about the pain of the sword dance, or 100 extended high-cuts, or any other physical activity I might engage in ever again, unless it involves a second child.  Every muscle in my body, including many that I was unaware existed, was sore.  This is the most awful, unnatural thing I've ever been through I thought (note that I had not tried breastfeeding yet!).  Yet in a perfect cliche, by the time baby and I had been wheeled down to the mother baby unit, the pain was already receding under the influence of her baby blue eyes . . .

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Welcome baby!

Baby arrived June 6th.  More to come later when I feel up to typing entire blog posts on my phone and/or locate a computer in the chaos that ensued from baby not waiting for our move deadline.  We are all doing well, and she is super cute!